When young girls dream about their wedding day, their minds don’t wander on the wedding centrepieces or favours — the dress is the first thing they think about. Even for brides who haven’t thought about planning their wedding until they finally have a ring on their finger, finding the perfect wedding dress is the top task on their bridal to-do list.
However, before you drown in a sea of gowns, veils, and sewing patterns, it’s important to sit down, pause and consider what you want in your dress. If you don’t have a list, you’ll easily get distracted with the dresses on display and have difficulty making a decision.
So, before you go all out with your wedding gown shopping, here are some things to keep in mind.
If buying a dress off the rack isn’t an option, advanced bridal gown shopping is important. Start shopping for your wedding gown six to nine months before the big day. Manufacturers take about four months to make a dress and another two months to accommodate alterations. If your gown is elaborate, it will take longer.
But what if you are short on time? Many wedding shops offer rush orders but charge additional fees for the service. Also, your choices will be limited.
Set a Budget
How much are you willing to spend on your wedding dress? Like with any part of the wedding, set a budget first so that you can set your expectations, as well as the bridal consultant’s. Figure out your budget, and be upfront with the salesperson before she starts showing dresses. This way, you won’t lose heart when they bring out a dress that you like but is out of your budget.
According to Brides, the average cost of a wedding gown is $1,630 (alterations included). Wedding gown prices are based on various factors, with the price ranging from $500 to $4,000. Also, the wedding ensemble (which includes the veil, undergarments, and other accessories) accounts for 15 percent of the total costs. Don’t forget about alterations, which can add up to a thousand dollars depending on how involved they are.
If you want to save more on your dress, many wedding salons hold big sales once or twice a year to clear out discontinued samples. To find these sales, visit designers’ websites, call stores and sign up for mailing lists.
Skip the Entourage, Bring a Few Guests
In movies, brides-to-be always bring a big group of friends to help her find the perfect dress. It seems like a fun bonding activity, but in real life, it can complicate your dress selection process.
Of course, you need more than a second opinion when choosing your dress, but if too many people offer different insights, your list might get overpowered, or you’ll end up confused. To avoid feeling both or either, limit the people you bring to the fitting or shopping.
Bring at least two to three of your trusted friends and family to help you narrow down your favourites. They’ll offer enough opinions without drowning out yours.
Take the Location into Account
Whether you’re having an indoor or an outdoor wedding is a consideration. For example, if you’re having a daytime ceremony on the beach, rule out wedding gowns with dramatic embellishments and long trains. Are you getting married in a cathedral? Avoid short dresses or anything that looks perfect for a cocktail party. Some Catholic churches might require brides to cover their shoulders.
Most fabrics are suitable for wear no matter where you’re getting married. However, some materials (like organdy and linen) are more appropriate for winter (e.g., brocade and velvet), while others suit the warm weather well.
Make Sure that You Can Breathe
You can look good in a dress, but if you can’t breathe in it, it’s difficult to enjoy your dream dress and wedding day. Even if you look as gorgeous as the Disney princesses, if you can’t breathe in your dress, feeling pretty is nearly impossible.
So, while trying out wedding dresses, consider whether you can breathe or not. Some brides have fainted because they could not take a breath due to their tight dresses. So make sure that you can breathe in your dress. Always consider comfort with beauty.
Fit, Not Size, Matters
Bridal gowns often run on the smaller side. For example, if you often wear size 8 clothes, consider buying a size 12 gown. Some brides make the mistake of insisting on a smaller size since they intend to lose weight before their big day. While this is an excellent motivation to lose weight, it doesn’t always work in the bride’s favour.
No matter which wedding dress you choose, this is your day. So set a budget, figure out your budget and take a few people to your appointment. Whether you find the dress on the first try or have a custom gown designed, saying “yes” to the dress is a big step towards your wedding day.